Event Video

All Library locations will be closed on Monday, July 4, for Independence Day.

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  • The Milken Institute’s Joel Kurtzman argues that thanks to an abundance of talent in key sectors ¬ biotech, pharmaceuticals, computers, telecommunications, and energy ¬ America remains the world’s dominant manufacturing power, capable of a rapid return to prosperity.
    Unleashing the Second American Century
    Tuesday, April 8, 2014
    Central Library

    In a discussion of his book, business management and leadership expert Joel Kurtzman makes the argument that America remains by far the world’s dominant manufacturing power, that most of what we produce is recession-proof, and that we boast a stunning level of talent and creativity in the world’s fastest-growing economic sectors — including biotech, pharmaceuticals, computer hardware and software, and telecommunications. Further, the country has a staggering $4.4 trillion in capital now idle. When the business community fully grasps its opportunities and capabilities, he says, prosperity will return.

  • Historian Jerome Greene explores the 1890 massacre of Sioux Indians on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, the complex events preceding the tragedy, and its troubled legacy.
    American Carnage: Wounded Knee, 1890 - Jerome Greene
    Sunday, April 6, 2014
    Central Library

    On a cold day in December 1890, near a creek called Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, the U.S. Army’s 7th Cavalry opened fire on an encampment of Sioux Indians. The ensuing massacre claimed more than 250 lives, including many Native women and children.

    In a discussion of his new book, Jerome Greene, a retired research historian for the National Park Service, explores the complex events preceding the tragedy, the killings, their troubled legacy, and the episode’s connection to the Kansas City region.

  • Historian Anne F. Hyde discusses her new book about the forces that were developing the American West long before the Louisiana Purchase made it a part of the United States.
    Empires, Nations, and Families: A History of the North American West
    Thursday, April 3, 2014
    Central Library

    The popularized, and wholly myopic, story of the United States’ westward expansion entails great Anglo-American explorers, hardy pioneers, and disappearing Indians. But as historian Anne F. Hyde makes clear in a discussion of her Bancroft Prize-winning book, this chapter in our country’s history is more complex than that.

    The Louisiana Purchase didn’t procure entirely virgin wilderness. From previous French and Spanish ownership, there were existing political and military influences, and the territory also was held together — and divided — by ethnically mixed families, friendships, and other alliances.

  • The National Review’s Kevin Williamson argues that innovative solutions to many of America’s problems are emerging from the failure of politics and government.
    The End Is Near and It’s Going to be Awesome
    Wednesday, March 19, 2014
    Central Library

    The U.S. government is disintegrating … and that’s a good thing, according to National Review contributor Kevin Williamson, whose new book sees innovative solutions to various social problems emerging from the failure of politics and government.

    Politics, he argues, cannot deal with crucial problems in education, health care, social security, and monetary policy. Meanwhile, those who don’t look to the state for goods and services — from home schoolers to Wall Street to organized crime — are experimenting with replacing the state’s outmoded social software with market-derived alternatives.

  • Amanda Ripley discusses her book about three young Americans who have opted to study in foreign countries where education is undergoing a revolution and even average students can make complex arguments.
    The Smartest Kids in the World – and How They Got That Way
    Wednesday, March 12, 2014
    Plaza Branch

    Some countries are so good at educating children that virtually all their youngsters can make complex arguments and solve complex problems. In other words, they are learning to think.

    In her bestselling book, author Amanda Ripley, an investigative journalist for Time and The Atlantic, follows three young Americans who have opted to study in Finland, Poland, and South Korea — hotbeds of education where rigorous teaching, parental input, and eager students are revolutionizing learning.

  •  Kevin Cook discusses his new book about the 1964 murder in New York of Catherine “Kitty” Genovese, a crime made doubly notorious because a reported 38 witnesses didn’t attempt to stop it. Problem is, according to Cook, much of what we think we know about the incident is wrong.
    Kitty Genovese: The Murder, the Bystanders, the Crime that Changed America
    Tuesday, March 11, 2014
    Central Library

    The 1964 murder of Catherine “Kitty” Genovese has become a defining moment in American social history. Early reporting described how she was stabbed to death on the front stoop of her New York City home in full view of 38 neighbors who “didn’t want to get involved.”

    Fifty years after that notorious crime, Kevin Cook argues in his new book that much of what we think we know about the incident is just plain wrong.

  • Author Steven Watts discusses his new biography of Missourian Dale Carnegie, whose 1936 best seller How to Win Friends and Influence People helped launch the  self-help revolution.
    Self-Help Messiah: Dale Carnegie and Success in Modern America
    Thursday, March 6, 2014
    Central Library

    Decades before Oprah, Dr. Phil, and today’s innumerable gurus peddling surefire plans for bettering ourselves, Missourian Dale Carnegie started the self-help revolution with his worldwide best seller How to Win Friends and Influence People. Life magazine named Carnegie one of its “100 most important Americans of the 20th Century.”

  • Chris Taylor director of the Atchison County Historical Society and the world’s smallest unofficial presidential library, offers an enlightening and whimsical review of the “presidency” of Missourian David Rice Atchison – who, some contend, spent 24 hours as president of the United States on March 4, 1849.
    David Rice Atchison - Chris Taylor
    Tuesday, March 4, 2014
    Plaza Branch

    Due to a quirk in the calendar in the year 1849, one school of thought contends that Missourian David Rice Atchison deserves to be considered the 12th president of the United States. His “term of office” lasted just 24 hours — most of which he slept through — and took place 165 years ago today.

    On Sunday, March 4, 1849, Atchison was serving as president pro tempore of the senate, then third in line for succession to the presidency. Because James K. Polk’s term ended at noon on that day and Zachary Taylor didn’t take the oath of office until noon the next day, Atchison technically may have been the chief magistrate of the land during that interim period.

    Chris Taylor, executive director of the Atchison County Historical Society and the world’s smallest unofficial presidential library, offers a whimsical and educational review of Atchison’s brief administration.

  • In a discussion of his new book, historian John B. Judis looks back to the Truman administration in an examination of the roots of the Arab/Israeli conflict and explains how it might be ended.
    Genesis: Truman, American Jews, and the Origins of the Arab/Israeli Conflict
    Tuesday, February 25, 2014
    Central Library

    John B. Judis, senior editor at The New Republic, examines the half-century of raging conflict between Jews and Arabs—a violent, costly struggle that has had catastrophic repercussions in a critical region of the world.

    The fatal flaw in American policy, Judis says, can be traced back to the Truman administration. What happened between 1945 and 1949 sealed the fate of the Middle East for the remainder of the century and explains why every subsequent attempt to stabilize the area has failed—right down to George W. Bush’s unsuccessful and ill-conceived effort to win peace by holding elections among Palestinians and Barack Obama’s failed attempt to bring both sides to the negotiating table.

  • We think of the Civil War in terms of great land battles. But the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College’s John T. Kuehn argues that the war on water – on rivers, in harbors, and on the high seas – was just as important.
    Civil War at Sea: The First Modern Naval War
    Thursday, February 20, 2014
    Central Library

    Americans are familiar with Civil War land battles—but much less so with the war at sea, from the development of ironclad warships and submarines to the more mundane naval blockade that created economic starvation in the South.

    On the 150th anniversary of the Confederates’ loss of the CSS Hunley—which had been the first combat Submarine to sink an enemy warship—John T. Kuehn of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College examines the largely underappreciated role that naval warfare played in the Civil War. Kuehn, a former Navy aviator, is the author of two books on the Pacific theater in World War II and another on the military history of Japan.

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